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55th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

20 March 2024

Mr. President,

The conflict in Sudan has created the largest internal displacement crisis in the world, and a downward spiral of extreme hunger. According to recent figures, nearly 230,000 children, pregnant women, and new mothers could die in the coming months due to hunger.

Aid organizations have made clear that Sudan armed forces (SAF) are obstructing their delivery of aid to Rapid Support Forces (RSF) controlled areas.  The High Commissioner for Human Rights has noted that the obstruction unfolding may constitute a war crime.

Both parties have perpetrated a litany of other heinous abuses which amount to war crimes. Among them, Human Rights Watch has documented the devastating use of sexual violence in Darfur – where women and girls have been targeted on the basis of their ethnicity and in some cases activism – as well as in Khartoum, particularly by the RSF.

Impunity is a core driver of the current crisis, and the seeming disregard with which international crimes are being committed by all parties. More urgent measures are needed to hold perpetrators to account. This Council’s Fact-Finding Mission has a key role to play in this regard, and we appeal to states to support its work.

Mr. President,

We are deeply concerned by recent developments in Venezuela.

Prominent human rights defender Rocío San Miguel has been held in arbitrary detention since February. After the OHCHR expressed concern over her detention, the government ordered the suspension of their operations in Venezuela. Several members of the opposition have also been detained in recent weeks.

States should insist on the release of all those arbitrarily detained, call for free and fair elections, and urge the Maduro government to comply with the Barbados Agreement. They should insist on the reestablishment of an OHCHR presence in Venezuela and support the continued work of the Fact-Finding Mission, whose mandate is now all the more important.

Thank you. 

HRW

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